About last night …

I love my Sundays, but I wish it were Monday.

That’s how anxious I am to see the Canadiens play the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre.

Last night’s 7-4 thumping of Boston was hugely entertaining. But as the ever-astute J.T. points out, the Bruins are the Canadiens’ bitches (as, sadly, the Canadiens are often Toronto’s.)

What it came down to was team speed, which the Bruins couldn’t handle, and a very encouraging manifestation of huge, clanking brass ones.

When Claude Julien saw his team falling out of the game and decided to turn the game into Lachine vs. Ahuntsic, circa 1963, the allegedly soft and undersized Canadiens didn’t flinch or give an inch.

Did you see Josh Gorges drop his gloves and go after the hulking Jeremy Reich? Francis Bouillon jumped in and took over, but not because my man Josh begged him to. You don’t become captain of the Kelowna Rocket in the rock ‘em, sock ‘em WHL if you’re a pussy.

The Canadiens lost every fight, but they won the game and they won the respect of each other – the latest example of a band-of-brothers esprit de corps that seems to reign in the room this year.

• Man of the Match: Steve "I’m in Your Face, Whaddaya Gonna Do About It, Ya Big Ugly P–k?" Bégin.

His smiling agit-prop took Zdeno Chara off his game and, ultimately, out of the game.

Dany Dubé of CKAC said later that Chara has size and a great shot, but given a choice between the two, he’d take Andrei Markov.

I agree. Markov played 28 minutes last night. He quarterbacked the PP, skated and passed the puck out of danger inhis own end and had two assists – including the pass that sent Tomas Plekanec away and ended with that highlight-reel goal by Andrei Kostitsyn.

• Michael Ryder played his best game of the season. 13 shots, for cryin’ out loud! That’s a good week for Tom Kostopoulos. Ryder also had two assists and three hits.

So is he back? We’ll see against the Senators … and we’ll hope Christopher Higgins is able to join him.

• I think Guillaume Latendresse just might find his game on the fourth line. He’ll asorb the work ethic of Tom the Bomb and benefit from the rapidly-emerging playmaking skills of Kyle Chipchura. Guy! Guy! Guy! had a goal last night, jumped into it with Chara after the big lug gave Kovy a head shot and managed to survive the ensuing fight.

• Carey Price was as good as he had to be. Mishandled the puck a couple of times but he didn’t give up any bad goals and made big saves while the Bruins were still in it. I’d start him against Ottawa, but Carbo probably will come back with Huet.

• And as Bruce Springsteen says when he’s about to introduce Clarence Clemons, last but certainly not least: The Flying Euros

It’s been too long since the Canadiens have had a line like Plekanec-Kovalev-Kostitsyn. The last I can remember was Doug Gilmour centring Oleg Petrov and Richard Zednik.

You can feel electricity coursing through the Bell Centre crowd when Pleks and the super Ks are on the ice.

They’re fast. They’re skilled. They throw the puck around.

The Flying Euros play the kind of hockey that almost justifies Bell Centre ticket prices.

Several callers to CKAC after the game offered three words: "Kostitsyn là … Wow!"

Pleks and friends present insurmountable problems for for a team like Boston, with its sluggish, lead-footed defence corps, wall-eyed with terror as they skate backwards under the onslaught. Ottawa will be a more interesting challenge.

One more sleep …

70 Comments

  1. ebk says:

    it was a bullsh*t hit by a player completely frustrated by the Habs buzz saw, Steve Begin. A player of Chara’s ability needs to be above crap like this. But hey sh*t happens.

  2. Yeats says:

    I am completely in your camp on this one. Also, you should specifically sit for a game or two against the team whose player you injured. I’m reminded of last year when Emery stuck Laps in the face and was suspended ex-post. We didn’t get any benefit from that.

  3. Chorske says:

    Kevin, don’t get me started on how much I am lovin’ Kovy these days. it’s almost wrong. ;)

    I’m hoping Higgy isn’t too badly hurt- it’d be our first real injury. Speaking of which, I’ve been reading about that brain-fart slash by Ohlund on Mikko Koivu. I know the league is trying to crack down on that kind of nonsense, but how is it fair that Ohlund only gets four games for taking out the Wild’s best player thus far? Mikko is probably out at least a week. I think the rule should be: if you cause another player to miss any time because of a vicious act, you should miss the same amount of time, plus 50%. Bertuzzi would be out permanently (and justly so). Not sure what the Flyers would do- put uniforms on the ushers, maybe?

  4. Bill says:

    You guys all make valid points, actually. In truth, the Habs are inconsistent: against Buffalo the other night they looked exactly like last year’s team, and it wasn’t for the first time this year, either. On the other hand, they’ve looked much better than last year more games than not. Grabs, I think, is correct that the stats are significantly better, and ClaytonM reinforces that we didn’t see last year’s team play as well as this year’s team at any point in its first quarter last season.

    I sympathize with your trepidation, which I recognize as the inevitable PTS effect of watching this team for the last decade or so. I feel much as you do, still waiting for the bottom to fall out. But I’m happy today.

  5. J.T. says:

    Yeah…I think when he imagines being a 40/40 guy, he forgets that there are 40 *assists* in the equation too. He’s maybe a bit too focussed on the goals part, and he’s not using his linemates as well as he should. I agree about switching up the PP units too. At least once in a while, Ryder and Higgins should be split on the powerplay. As Ian pointed out, Ryder came on strong after Higgins left for a while last night. He also broke his scoring slump when he played on a different line. No coincidence there, I think.

  6. Yeats says:

    To the best of my knowledge, they may not like it, but they have yet to outlaw the hip check. Oh, where is Brad Park when you need him?

  7. Yeats says:

    Well, considering the NHL Network’s programming, there has to be a boatload of Habs’ shows in store in the future.

  8. HabsInBlood says:

    Did you see Higgins turn an attempted pass to the point on the PP into a puck-clear for the Bruins … wow, what an awful pass. Can anyone recall Higgins making a great pass? I think the one that has suffered the most from the re-arrangement of the PP (meaning using the same 5 on 5 #1 nad #2 lines) is Ryder. Last year he played on the top PP with Koivu and Kovy up front. Kovalev likes the puck on his stick, but he is also a much better passer than Higgins.

    I Higgins just trying to do too much, perhaps? He’s great at hustling and creating space “for himself”, but I don’t see that turning into a great pass or whatever. Yesterday’s 2 on 0 fluff is an indication that something is not totally right with him at present … be it mental or physical.

  9. Grabs says:

    Thank you very much sir! Keep an eye out for this channel, I just caught the 93 Habs Nordique series a couple of days ago so if their progamming continues in this vein…

  10. Grabs says:

    Right on Yeats! The only way for a much smaller man to take down a tree like chara is to chop it down to size, take out the bastard at the knees.

  11. Naila Jinnah says:

    Bonus points for a Star Trek reference!!

  12. showey47 says:

    i’d like that also but i’m pretty sure he is employed by the devils, but eric desjardins may also be a decent candidate

  13. Kevin says:

    A large part of the success of the second line has to do with Kovalev being able to put it in the net consistently and not being snakebit. I don’t think that gets mentioned often enough as most people keep talking about Pleks. (Not taking anything away from Pleks because he’s been great!) From Canadiens.com:

    “With 10 goals already through 19 games this season, Kovalev has reached the mark faster than any Canadiens player in over a decade. Not since Martin Rucinsky scored his 10th goal in game No. 20 back in 1996-97 has a Hab flown out of the blocks the way Kovalev has so far in 2007-08.”

    http://canadiens.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=343678

  14. Kevin says:

    I think that Higgins should be rested against Ottawa even if he’s feeling better. The last thing we want is for him to aggravate an ankle that’s at 90%. It would be a good chance to try out Grabovski on the wing with Saku. Can’t be worse than putting Kostopolis on the first line! And just maybe, maybe Higgins will then return the following game with a bit better aim and luck.

  15. Yeats says:

    FYI: On the NHL Network, they’re showing Classic Series: 1993 Habs vs. Sabres.

  16. J.T. says:

    Ian:
    NO surprise there at all. Higgins has been hogging the puck all season. He set his target during the summer to be a 40 goal/40 assist man. He’s not let go of the puck since. Witness the 2-on-0 last night. Rather than drop the puck back to Koivu to bury, Higgins tried to deke Thomas and ended up not even getting a shot. I love the guy, but he needs to share a little bit more.

  17. Yeats says:

    My sparkling blue suspenders, like my hair-down-to-the-shoulders days, are now just fond memories.

  18. Yeats says:

    Ian: I missed you post, but needless to say, I am reeking of culture this afternoon. We saw Winton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra last night. The program was all Big Band music, so even a slug like me actually knew most of the pieces. All in all, a great evening, great concert, great win. I was even happy to see the leafs take some of the wind out of the Sens’ sails. I am going to go find you post. Be back in a minute.

  19. The Ian Cobb says:

    We have a lot of D here and in Hamilton that could pick up a thing or two. Did you see my post refering to your night out with the Mrs. You had probably gone out by then. Check back. YEATS

  20. Yeats says:

    Gosh, I’d love to see Robinson come on board and give the Vulcan mind meld to Komisarek. I think #8 has a lot more offensive skill that he is given credit for. After the winning goal against the leafs, I’d be really pissed if I were him and not chosen for the next shootout.

  21. Yeats says:

    I’m watching the game as I post on The Bruins in Two (Hours). JT is right. It was a fun game to watch. Sort of had that pickup, free-wheeling feel to it. Boone’s right, we didn’t win the fights. However, intimidation only works when the other guy or guys just give up and allow you to impose your will on them. As long as the Habs let it be known that they will fight back as a group, it serves notice to the other teams in the League. I also like the fact that a random sampling of our guys were involved in scraps. (OK, Kosty got rag-dolled, but he didn’t seem all the worse for it.) The more guys who are willing to stand up the better. I may not be able to kick your ass, but I’ve got a bunch of guys behind me watching my back and you can’t beat us all.

    And, Chara, he’s just a big bag of sh*t. Grabs is spot on on this one. The outcome might have been truely decided, but as captain of a team down by two with about 6:30 remaining, you don’t put your team in an even deeper hole by being sent to the room. I am really suprised that, given the favorable physics involved, that no one has given that bastard a text-book hip check that sends him “ass over tea kettle.” If I were coaching against the Bs, I would just tell my guys that shift, after shift, after god damn shift, I want you to dump it in his corner and two guys go in and bust his ass. You send him limping back to the bench, or better yet the room, and that team will fold their tents and go home. Yes, they’ll be you bitches for the rest of the season.

  22. The Ian Cobb says:

    Just a little information past on to me from good source, What do you think of Gainy talking to Larry Robinson about comming on board to help out with our defence. In the works.

  23. Chorske says:

    Does a sasquatch like Chara have any option? At his height, it seems like everyone’s head is at about elbow height.

    I didn’t see the play but Kovy doesn’t strike me as a ducker.

  24. Yeats says:

    They just need to spend some time with a professional in the gym. The most proficient kid in my little guys’ martial arts class is a nine-year old who is a black belt. If you can teach a kid that age how to handle himself, you can certainly teach some pugilistic skills to a well-conditioned man who is professional athlete. It’s a hell of a lot tougher to pick a corner than to throw a punch.

  25. The Ian Cobb says:

    YEATS– My thinking exactly

  26. Thumper says:

    I’d still like us to have a heavy weight scrapper before one of the ‘band of brothers’ gets injured. Hopefully they can stick up for themselves when Leafs and Sundin start to get pushy.

    Nice to see 7 goals from a team everyone was worried about back in september of not having an offence.

    Go Habs

  27. Chorske says:

    Holy smokes, did Mike Boone just use the words “bitch”, “pussy” AND “agit-prop” in the same blog post? Who IS this MASKED MAN?!

    ;) C

  28. Chorske says:

    LOL, someone ate their Wheaties before blogging.

  29. Yeats says:

    Ian: I think you’re on to something. The problem with hockey is that until they change the rules again to create more offense, there is still only on puck on the ice.

  30. The Ian Cobb says:

    I’m just thinking about something, (chemistry) I wonder how come Rider’s game took off after Higgins left hurt in the first??? Any observations out there??

  31. ebk says:

    ClaytonM

    could be that my head is filled with stats but for the life of me, I’m pretty sure I was watching the games. Nothing would make me happier than this years version of the Habs proving me wrong.

  32. ebk says:

    Kostitsyn was huge all night long.

  33. ebk says:

    I hope your right and I’m wrong, nothing would make me happier. Your spin on the math is cool, if you think it proves your right, more power to you.

  34. Habsfan39 says:

    Haha Gorges is no pussy… you hit the nail on the head.

    This was a huge character building game. I think Gorges, Lats and Tom earned a lot of respect from their teammates, Ryder got it going, Kovvy was flying. Awsome to see.

    So on to Ottawa, we’ll see how that goes. Its a shame that Montreal is faced with playing them after a loss again, but I think Huet will be up to the challenge.

    The isles are going to seem like a peewee team come Wednesday.

    The quote of the night, I’m still kind of chuckling about it. “It took a while there, but we managed to break the seal, and after that we just kept it coming all night” – Jarome Iginla

    I think he meant to say it like that, he had a half smile on, but then again he’s always smiling

    -Donovan

  35. ClaytonM says:

    I forgot about that 5 minute left rule, thanks Prof. You’re aptly named.

  36. ClaytonM says:

    This explains why you think this team is the same as last year’s. You’ve got your head filled with stats (which are correct) and you’re not watching them play hockey. They’re a lot faster, have much better team chemistry now that a rotten apple or two are gone, and are working a lot harder. They’ve had a few bad to average games so far, but by no means are they relying on goaltending like they did last season.

    Can you find the stats on how many SOG they allowed after 19 games? I’d bet they lowered that number by 5 or 10. They’ve also lowered scoring chances for the other team. All due to one guy – Hamrlik. He’s such an improvement over Souray defensively, by the end of the season people will wonder how Gainey got criticized for signing him for $5.5 million. Just as they’ll wonder who in their right minds would let Price waste his talent in Hamilton.

    And we still don’t have all of our pistons firing yet! When Ryder starts getting 2-3 goals per week and Latendresse stops taking Doofus pills, we’ll be in contention for the President’s Cup.

  37. Grabs says:

    If you honestly think this team is no different than last years, you need to take a closer look.

    Last year one line was doing all the scoring, this year two lines are doing it, with notable contributions from from the lower lines.

    +11 is almost 40% better than +8, do the math.

    3 games over 6 gaols is 50% better than 2.

    The goaltending situation is infinitely better than last year.

    There’s still room for improvement, but they’ve started to close the gap in 5 on 5 from last year.

    They no longer rely as heavily on their goalies, they’ve already won at least two games this year when their goaltanding has been less than stellar.

    Stop being such a pessimist.

  38. HabsProf says:

    Tom K. clearly instigated a fight in the last five minutes of the game. The Bruin (I think it was Stuart) was just standing there, doing nothing when Tom skated up, cross-checked him and dropped the gloves. No doubt about premeditation.

    The league has the option (I don’t think the obligation) to suspend a player and fine a coach if someone starts a fight in the last five minutes of a game.

    Chara could get one for the head shot against Kovy (post game Chara said Kovy ducked, but the fact that Chara’s elbows and fists were up, with his stick in the air is all that matters). He also then clearly started a fight with Latendresse. All of this did not occur in the last five minutes, however, so only the head shot could lead to a suspension for Chara.

    What a big flippin’ goof. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if he were only 6’3″, he wouldn’t be in the NHL.

  39. HabsProf says:

    I don’t think the word being censored was punk. Instead of a “un”, try inserting “ric”. Rhymes with trick.

  40. HabsProf says:

    I thought Kostitsyn was one of the three stars last night. I only saw the game from the start of the second period, but it seemed like every time he was out there, the Habs had a chance. I was particularly thrilled to see him dangle in on goal late in the second period, making a couple of defensemen look silly. So glad Kostitsyn is no longer on the third line….

    Ryder looked like the Ryder of old. He keeps playing like that and he’ll put them in the net.

  41. ClaytonM says:

    Can someone please explain why there’s talk about a possible 1 game suspension in Kostopoulos’ future? If anything I’d say Stuart and Chara deserve to sit for a game, possibly more in Chara’s case after the head shot on Kovalev. In fact, why Kostitsyn even got a major for fighting is a bit funny. He never dropped his gloves and was jumped by Stuart. I’m sure the league is reviewing the game today. At the very least they’ll be asking themselves “And the CBC chose to broadcast the laffs/sans game?”

    This game reminded me of when we took care of the flyers. We might not have beat them in the alley, but we handled the bruins on the scoreboard. When they started the cheap stuff like running Price and jumping our scorers, the whole team and even the coaches answered with one voice. I’m proud to be a Habs fan today.

    Here’s an interesting stat. Before the game, Thomas had a 1.68 GAA. Afterwards it dropped to 2.05. I’m not deluding myself, I realize the season is still young and these stats don’t mean much. By the same token, when everyone starts talking like Tim Thomas is a Vezina candidate because of a good start, they need to look at the big picture. After last night he might look forward to Manny Fernandez returning. We still have 5 games against them and there’s no doubt Manny gets the nod until another 5+ goal game by Montreal.

    I’m hoping Huet gets the start tomorrow. Price has been the more solid, consistent goalie so far, but Huet shows he can rebound from a bad game with a stronger effort. I’d dress Price against the Isles and play him on Saturday, but whatever happens, I trust Carbo. A lot more than I did last year.

  42. habitual says:

    While you are rephrasing things Mike, rephrase that the Habs are often Toronto’s bitches. Our record against them this year is 1-1-1. Hardly bitch-like, and our results against them are moving towards bitchin’.

  43. ebk says:

    As one of the people who think this team isn’t any better than last years, I’ll answer your question. The Canadiens scored six or more goals six times last year. Last year after 19 games they had two.

    Their record was exactly the same last year at this point. Their goals for and against are almost identical. They have scored 1 more and allowed 2 less. The +8 goal differential last year is not that far off the +11 from this year. 7 times last year through 19 games they were held to 2 goals or fewer, 8 this year. Both this year and last year they have scored 4 or more goals 7 times.

    In all actuality this team is eerily similar to last years through the first 19 games. The depend heavily on getting solid goaltending and a strong PP to win games this year. They still struggle at even strength to score goals. They tend to play to the level of the competition. How is this any different from last year.

    I’m hoping it is, I just have not seen it this year

  44. Grabs says:

    Funny Mike! That’s just what we need, sports news written like high school text books, dry as a bone found in the Sahara desert.

    BTW, good job of less is more when yesterday you wrote “Shame on Julien”. no more needed to be said.

  45. 81frank says:

    A little patience is bearing fruit in the case of Kostitsyn. He looked so lost early in the season, now you can tell he just wants the puck all the time. One of the things that stick out is his enthousiasm, a bit like Markov, though much quicker, you can see him coming out of his shell.

  46. Grabs says:

    Looks like after a lengthy hiatus, the Habs-bruins rivalry is back, the bruins have been so impotent in both toughness and ability since they last met the Habs in the playoffs that the animosity which had been built up over the years no longer existed, nothing like a little healthy hatred to revive things huh?

    Funny how one act can change your perception of a person, I have lost all respect I ever had for Julien. I once considered him one of the good guys, a decent coach who paid his dues and proved he belonged in the NHL, to me he is now a petty, overzealous NHL coach with a QMJHL mentality.

    Is there a bigger jerk in NHL than Chara? I can’t remember the last time I saw such a self-centered, stupid goon attitude from a supposed professional. I mean c’mon big ‘Z’ (‘Z’ now stands for zero) your team is down two goals in the third with plenty of time left, against a team with a goalie who’s not at his best, in a game that’s been wide open all night, and you put them down a man for the last 7:00 of the game… and you’re wearing the C!? bush league.

    OK son, we know you’re a big goalie and take up lots of room, but for the love of christ stop going down so early! Price needs to fix this part of his game, because from the looks of it, the book is out on him.

    Another beauty from Kostitsyn, if anyone’s keeping score, that’s 3 goals and all beauties, this kid is going to be as good offensively as Chipchura will be defensively. In Pittsburgh he cocked it like a pro just before he buried it, he put his second goal in the top corner from in close, and last night a wicked wrister top shelf off the rush, say hello to the Habs newest sharpshooter.

    Who needs a goon when your team plays like a wolf pack? Tommy K may never win a fight, but have you ever seen anyone better at not getting pummeled when hopelessly overmatched? He survives fights without taking a beating, (Twice last night) and gets an opposing goon off the ice for five.

    For everyone that still thinks this team is not much different from last years squad, answer me this; How many times did the Habs score six or more last year? So far this year, 3 times in 19 games. While maintaining a respectable defense, the Habs are now one of the top scoring teams in the league. On basis of average GPG, they’re 3rd in the east and fourth overall. The Habs +11 as a team puts them 4th in the NHL, not coincidentally where they also are points wise. A sure way of telling if a team is doing it with mirrors like the Canadiens did last year, is the goal differential, look around the league and you’ll see this evidenced. This years version of last years Habs are the Islanders, great record but a -1 as a team.

    Some more encouraging stats; # Habs now averaging close to a point per game, Kovalev, Koivu, and Markov are tied for for most points at 17, Pleks not far behind at 15, Streit and Hamrlik at 10, as Chico would say, looking good!

    Kostitsyn and Ryder are starting to heat up and will probably start potting a lot more points than they have so far. Higgins is too good to not improve on his 11 points in 19 games, K-Rex has shaken off his early season rust and has become a monster as our friend Pierre Macguire puts it. Even everyones favorite whipping boy ‘Gui Gui Gui’ is playing much better of late, there’s just so much to be enthusiastic about with this team, despite the fact that they’re still growing and learning, as evidenced by they’re previous few games.

    Tough week coming up, an angry Ottawa team on Monday, the Islanders in NY who are 7-2 at home, and then back to back games against the sabres Friday and Saturday. Winning the Ottawa game would likely ensure a successful week, they can do it if current player trends continue.

  47. grrrreg says:

    thanks, that’s really great!

  48. Mike Boone says:

    Let me rephrase that:
    “The Bruins are the other children whom the Canadiens don’t treat nicely”
    “You don’t become captain of the Kelowna Rocket in the really quite physical WHL if you’re not a confident young man with no serious self-esteem issues …”
    Ah, that reads so much better …

  49. Naila Jinnah says:

    I just want it to be Monday so we can find out how Higgy’s doing!!

    Oh, and the game too, I guess…

  50. Shawn S says:

    I enjoy the fact that the words “bitch” and “pussy” were used, but “punk” was censored out.
    Anyways most entertaining game of the season by far, and anytime we throughly pound the Bruins(hate them more than the leafs), I’ma happy camper. Monday can’t come soon enough.

  51. Dan23 says:

    A grand old time at the Bell Centre last night, and I did enjoy how the Habs stuck up for each other (even though they lost every fight). Still, it seems to me that since last Saturday’s game against the Senators, the Canadiens play has not been quite up to snuff. We got lucky against the Leafs, came out flat against the Sabres, and won a wild one last night. I hope the emotion of tomorrow night’s game carries over into the Habs effort.

    Then again, maybe the unexpectedly great performance by the Canadiens this season thus far now has me expecting perfect hockey…

  52. ebk says:

    If their PP works like that all year long, the 5 on 5 problems won’t matter near as much. The speed and skill they move the puck with on the PP is a pleasure to watch. Without Souray, Markov has emerged as a PP force and a Norris Trophy candidate.

    Did we witness the emergence of the Habs next leading goal scorer. What a howitzer by Kostitsyn. He looks better and better every game. He has every tool you need in his bag, along with a cannon of a shot. The, by name only, 2nd line was again dangerous everytime it was one the ice. Lets see if they can handle the Senators #1 line because the Koivu line couldn’t last time. Lets hope Carbo can show some patience and leave this line alone.

    Welcome to the 2007/2008 season Michael Ryder. Quite simply, one of the better players on the ice. He needs to be a force for the Habs to have the season everyone on this site expects. No if only he and Higgins can stick a few in the net.

    Price played well enough to win. He made a few big saves but looked a little shaky. First time all season he has looked that way to me. Price was not good enough last night to keep Huet on the bench. I’d start Huet against Ottawa

    Finally, I also believe that we are witnessing the beginning stages of a Norris trophy campaign. Markov has been heads and shoulders the Habs best d-man all season. On most nights he is also their best player. He has stepped up his game and is the biggest reason why the Canadiens do not miss Souray on the PP. I have yet to see any d-man playing better in the NHL this season.

  53. Les-Habitants says:

    Great, great game!!
    Wow, like you said Mike, even when Julien started sending out the goon squad the Habs didn’t back down. It was pretty comical during the third period as there was barely anyone left on the bench!

    But if Higgins and Ryder were able to convert even a 1/3 of their chances….my god, Koivu would be leading the league in scoring!!!! On the upside, Ryder is looking like the offensive threat we’re paying 2.95mil a year for him to be. On the downside, Higgins never seemed comfortable (hence the many missed chances) after what seemed like an ankle injury in the 1st…I mean, when he had that 2 on nothin with Koivu…….

    That was easily Tender’s best game of the season. As a 20 year old, I still consider him a prospect in many regards, and he’ll develop a lot better with limited ice time, especially with a guy like Chip as his center.

    Koivu’s been great all season, can you imagine how’d he be doing with a legit 1st line winger?? Koivu, call out the favor and get selanne here lol

  54. showey47 says:

    How we didn’t score 12 goals last night is beyond me, but what i liked more than the goals was the fact that we refused to be intimidated and that the players stuck up for each other. Hopefully this was a “team building” game where we realize what has to be done in order to be successful every night.

  55. grrrreg says:

    “the Bruins are the Canadiens’ bitches”
    “You don’t become captain of the Kelowna Rocket in the rock ‘em, sock ‘em WHL if you’re a pussy”

    Hmmm, vive la testostérone!

    I love this blog, I read it everyday, but I’m kind of tired of this kind of chest-thumping rethoric that most hockey writers use. Come on Mike, we know you’re better than that! ;-)

    But I completely agree with the rest of your analysis. Especially about the euro-line, now that’s exciting hockey! Hopefully they will all work as hard tomorrow.

  56. Sbah Reverof says:

    I agree, great game, a lot of fun to watch, some good old-time hockey. A solid effort by Ryder, i feel he’s starting to get the picture (just shoot, nothing too fancy) and getting ready to bust out of his doldrums. Nice to see the team rebound from their worst game of the season. They need to remember the elements that won the game against Boston, and use them against Ottawa: good forechecking, winning the battle along the boards, one-timing their shots, getting the upper hand in faceoffs, and outskating your opponent, thereby drawing penalties.
    Go Habs!

  57. zamboni says:

    I couldn’t have said it any better,
    I love the guy, but I have yet to see him make a pass on 2 on 1, 3 on 1, 2 on 0 … situations.
    Sooner or later other teams would take notice of that, if they haven’t already.
    Higgy, forget about the 40 goals, and just focus on playing your gritty game, the goals will come.

    Mike, the only thing I would add about last night’s game is that it reminded me why NHL has the worst officiating in any pro sports.

    What a game it was,
    I had the game recorded, and watched it delayed, had zero difficulty to watch it all the way without using the FF button (other than the commercials) till wee hours of the morning.

    Looking forward to seeing more games of the same :)

  58. Sulemaan says:

    I think the last ‘pure’ all European line we had was the ‘Smurf’ line.
    It was Saku Koivu, Oleg Petrov and Valeri Bure back in the mid nineties.

  59. HabsProf says:

    No, he has no choice about his height, but the issue is does he lead with his elbows and fists, or are they tucked tight to his body? He clearly lead with them, which is why he was penalized. Whether it is suspension worthy or not, I don’t know. I was (and remain) too steamed to think rationally.

    Kovalev didn’t duck into the elbows – the only reason he wasn’t knocked silly is because he tried to avoid the hit. So yes, he moved, but not into the hit. If anything, his head movement mitigated the damage.

    Chara is a goof.

  60. Kevin says:

    Completely agree with you. Higgy should rest even if its a minor bruise because he’s got a history with last year’s ankle injury. Prevention is key.

    And about Kovy, love that quote “its almost wrong!” I liked the guy last year when he didn’t put up the points and I’m extatic that he’s quieted many of his critics so far this year.

  61. Kevin says:

    I like the idea of that player having to sit for a game or two against the team whose player he injured. It would also help limit the severity of the retaliation from players wanting to defend their teamates in the following game. We all remember that Bertuzzi’s actions were in retaliation to what was done to his captain in the previous Canuck/Avalanche matchup; maybe Bertuzzi’s idiotic actions could have been avoided if some time would have past before he crossed Moore’s path again. (I’m not defending Bertuzzi in any way here!!)

  62. G-Man says:

    You got it right, Mike. I can’t wait for #19 to lift up into the rafters. Old time hockey at the BC? You betcha!

    Gilbert

  63. howtathor says:

    I should tune in CKAC…am usually locked in on Murray Wilson post game…What a great character building prelude to Mondays bout against the Sens. If the inspiration of #19 weren’t enough, the team has learned to overcome all kinds of adversity (read: thuggery) by sticking together…not D’artagnan but Koivu…All for one and one for ALL…in the inimitable words of Lindy Ruff to describe last nights game: “it’s a JOKE” C’mon Claude: wake up and smell the Vodka! If you got a bone to pick don’t come after our smallest, skilled players with your heavy artillery…that bieng said, we can take it. I think Kirk Muller summed it up for you in so many words @%)&%@)%!
    With rivalries like this, who needs friends???

  64. nightmare_49 says:

    Why are you locked in to the Murray Wilson post game. He’s an imported talking head from Ottawa that shows up at game day and keeps on saying the same things over and over and needs a new script. Why the Wrinkle radio station doesn’t hire a local colour man is beyond me. At least a local guy would come up with a few current items that he’s noticed.

  65. Michael N. says:

    Play of the game for me, Price clears the puck up the ice himself, Thomas gets it and plays it too much, gets caught behind the net and gets burned for a goal.

  66. TheCharles says:

    I’m with you Mike. It was good to see the boys stand up for each other. The Bruins tried some thuggery but they stuck together and let no misdeed go unpunished. This is what I like to see.

  67. GTC says:

    Ive always known that Les Boys are willing to get their noses dirty and last night proves that I was spot on. They dont mind getting sand kicked in their face. Justice will prevail. Last night guys who dont even normally get beat up stepped up to show those bullies. Kostitsyn was slapped around. Lats too. Thats team toughness. Lats had no business fighting Chara. That wasn’t his battle. Chara was a little aggressive tried to smash Kovys head to a pulp but Lats should have ran away like Higgy and Ryder do. Just shake your head and say tsk tsk. I think its clear that no one will try this again with our habbies. If they do then number one they are going to the box mister. And they just might have to deal with Tom the Bomb hanging from their jersey for dear life. He is fearless and loves to go. He has twice as many fights as punches thrown.
    Go Habs Go

  68. J.T. says:

    There was so much *fun* about last night! How long has it been since we saw a Habs’ game that was just pure, unadulterated fun?! Even when Boston came back, we just knew it wasn’t going to help the end result for them. Tomorrow night won’t be fun, but if they can pull it off, it’ll be a huge step in the development of this team. It’ll require all hands pulling in the same direction for a whole game, no mistakes and some serious toughness. Pulling off a win on Larry Robinson Night, and giving the mighty Sens their second loss in a row will be memorable and important accomplishment. And, for the first time in a very long time, I’m not thinking of a big game against a powerful team with dread. Bring ‘em on…I can’t wait!

  69. JF says:

    I agree about the fun last night. It’s very rare that I finish watching a Habs game feeling relaxed and unable to stop smiling. More often than not, my stomach is in a knot, I have no fingernails left and my heart is pounding. They did so many things right last night – skating hard, crashing the net, checking, and most important, standing up for each other. A real team-building game. Perhaps on Larry Robinson night, the emotion will feed into them, as it did on Ken Dryden night last year. (Although I heard last year that the Senators stayed in their dressing room during the very long ceremony, so they maybe came out a bit flattened whereas our guys were pumped with emotion. I doubt they’ll make that mistake this year.) But win or lose, if they play a good game we can feel encouraged. The one thing I really hate is to see them put no effort and emotion into it, as on Friday night.

    I’m actually more worried about Wednesday’s game against the Islanders. Ted Nolan has that team working extremely hard, and they’re finding ways to win most nights. I’m afraid the Habs will be unpleasantly surprised.

  70. jablonski says:

    I went to the game and it was one of the best i have ever been to. Great action up and down the ice. It was the kind of hockey the NHL should be televising and afvertising.

    Matt J


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